Each house has a Crest. That Crest is made up of Sigils. The more powerful the house the more Siglis it can accumulate.
A house’s Crest is only a heraldic symbol. The power lies in the Sigilian, the device that lends its image to the Crest.
Each Sigil a house has is incorporated into its Sigilian. A house’s Sigilian is just an image to most, but has power to those in the house.
If you are born into the house you can trace bits and pieces of the Sigilian, and parts of Sigils, in midair. It takes a few moments to get into the right state of mind, called the State, but once there a Sketcher can continue to draw Sigils for as long as they can stay awake, or stay focused.
Each Sigil has a separate power. For example one Sigil may grant control over Air, while another grants perfection of body.
Drawing the most basic version of the Sigil will activate only a basic power. For example, drawing the basic version of the Sigil of Air you may be able to fall slower or glide like a bird once already falling, and for perfection of body it may let you hit harder for a moment, or heal minor wounds.
Each Sigil has a different and unique power, and only one house can own a given Sigil at any one time.
Because of the curious way that Sigils work though they can be gifted.
When a child is born of two nobles houses there are several things that can happen.
They can choose to belong to one or the other of the houses, gaining those sigils, and only those sigils. This choice would be made once they were old enough to do so. Before they decided they would be able to practice with Sigils from both Houses. If they don’t choose by their thirteenth year of age the nature of the Houses forces them into one House or another.
Instead, the Houses can create a new House, Gifting Sigils to the newborn for a new Sigilian.
However, this can be dangerous as the baby will not be able to protect the Sigils and they can be easily stolen by another.
Gifting is a long process that requires much energy and patience as the Sketchers Sketch a Sigil in full over the recipient. They must do this time and again until the Sigil stays burning in the air between times, burnt into the essence of the universe at that space.
Then the recipient passes through the Sigil, and the Sigil has been gifted.
Or, the Houses can Merge. A Merging is a long and costly process by which two Houses merge their Sigilian together. Once the new Sigilian is complete all members of both houses can use the Sigils from both of the old houses.
However, this also has problems, as control of the House passes to the oldest living relative of purest blood, which is, at this time, the newborn. It is dangerous for the same reasons as Gifting, but far worse, as every single Sigil belonging to both families will be stolen if someone slays the baby.
While that may seem like a despicable thing to do, many will stop at nothing to accumulate more Sigils.
Often in the past the strongest Sigilians had only one Heir, a single mad Sketcher whose only goal is to accrue more Sigils for their Sigilian.
This has not happened in decades though, as the more powerful an individual Sketcher gets the more negative attention they will get from more numerous Houses. It is in their best interest to Gift some of their Sigils to the more powerful houses to stay in their good graces.
In the same way Houses often Gift Sigils to Knights and others of distinction in order to create new Houses (however minor) and share the Sigils.
When a Sigil is Sketched it leaves behind an afterimage in the air that burns for as long as the Sigil is active.
Another Sketcher can, with patience and practice, Sketch in reverse, undoing an ongoing Sigil. This is called “Sketching the Mirror” or the “Antisigil”. A Sketcher must identify which side it was drawn from, and then sketch it from the other side, effectively creating a mirror duplicate, and its opposite. This will null the Sigil.
When a full Sigilian is Sketched it provides extra powers, perfectly melding all the powers of the Sigils within for as long as you can maintain your focus.
This means that those with smaller Sigilians can Complete them sooner, but they will have less powerful effects. For those small Houses with only a single Sigil they can often Complete in the time it takes another Sketcher to draw one Sigil, giving them a large edge in battle.
However, as it takes time and practice to become an excellent Sketcher they will still often lose due to speed of activation. If another Sketcher can Sketch even a basic Sigil faster than you can, they’ll have the advantage unless their Sigil is next to useless.
Further, unless a Sketcher can Sketch faster than should be humanly possible they will lose to someone running at you with a sword. Sketching is not particularly useful in real battles, useful more in set up Sigil duels or as utility abilities.
While Sketching you may only have one of each sigil in your Sigilian active at any given time.
That includes Sigils in combinations and individuals.
Permanent Sigils gets around that.
Sigils can be made Permanent with a long ritual. This imbues one specific effect of a Sigil to an inanimate object permanently. This can be used to make swords permanently razor sharp and strong as diamond, or to make castles fly (Castle Destria).
If you exit the State all active Sigils (Except Permanent Sigils) fail and stop.
If you become familiar enough with one Sigil (and have trained for it) you Sketch the Basic instantly so long as you are in the State.
Failing to Sketch properly results in backlash causing you to become fatigued, have a headache, see spots, or feel nasueated, depending on the person and level of screw up. It always prevents you from Sketching again within the next while (dependent on how bad the screw up) and can even boot you right out of the State (again, depends on how bad it was)
One Q and an A. Feel free to ask more.
Is there a way to gift sigils to a non blood related person?
You can Create a new House
Its much the same as Gifting, except only one Sigilian can contribute
And people can Gift from one House to another, it just takes time, effort, and energy
So, House AB could Gift a Sigil to House BC, or to House AC. And if AC and AB have a baby they can both Gift Sigils easily and without any effort at allwhile if they both wanted to create House CD only one could create the House, and then they would both have to go to a lot of effort to Gift additional Sigils